11/20/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Secret Ballot (2001)

"I must vote, you must vote, everyone must vote."
- Election Agent (Nassim Abdi)

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: February 25, 2003

Stars: Nassim Abdi, Cyrus Abidi, Youssef Habashi, Farrokh Shojaii, Gholbahar Janghali
Director: Babak Payami

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: 01h:44m:55s
Release Date: January 07, 2003
UPC: 043396092204
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B+A-B+ D

DVD Review

I don't know about you, but when I think Iran, I think: comedy! You shouldn't let news clips of rabid mullahs or axis-of-evil rhetoric put you off of this deft little movie, however, which offers a revealing view of rural Iranian society in a story that has the intelligence about the political process of films like The Great McGinty and The Candidate.

It is Iran's quadrennial election day, and a great percentage of the population has absolutely no chance of making it to a polling place. Election agents, therefore, are deployed throughout the countryside, to allow the citizens to vote—in some metaphorical sense, the mountain is coming to Mohammed. The story begins with the arrival of an unnamed election agent (Nassim Abdi), who raises eyebrows by virtue of her gender; her escort through her designated territory is a soldier, played by Cyrus Abidi, also unnamed. The zeal with which she tries to fill up her ballot box with as many legitimate votes as possible comprises the bulk of the movie.

The structure means that the film is necessarily episodic, a series of encounters with possible voters, so there's not a lot of dramatic drive; but it's entertaining nonetheless, in large measure because of the contrast between the two central figures. There's an obvious tension between bullets and ballots: some potential voters are scared off by the man with the gun, others see him as the muscle of the operation, an unspoken threat to comply with the authorities. The soldier himself sees it as just another day at the office—he seems jaded about his work and his country, and bears some cinematic kinship with Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail.

The inspector's Jeffersonian faith in the democratic process can be deeply touching at times—her belief in the efficacy of government to do good, to, say, bring running water to the people in the most remote portions of the country. She frequently nudges over that line, however, and seems to have an almost missionary zeal to collect votes—sort of a Muslim Reese Witherspoon in Election—or basically seems to be uttering those words that have sent shudders down the spine of many an American: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." Her fervor even takes her to a well-attended funeral, for that's where the potential voters are—someone remarks to her, with a good amount of accuracy, "Your ballots mean more to you than people."

What's especially well drawn here are the customs and assumptions of the Iranian people—there are women who cannot vote, not merely because they are illiterate, but because they are forbidden even to look at photographs of men other than their husbands; and there are many on the journey who have nothing but disdain for the process. As one fisherman, who doesn't want to take a break from his work to exercise his democratic rights, says to the election agent: "Voting doesn't catch fish."

There's just a hint of flirtation between the agent and the soldier, but the movie wisely steers clear of an unnecessary romantic subplot. It's not a film likely to reshape your views about politics or elections, but it goes a long way toward humanizing the good people of Iran, and illuminating our common humanity.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: A very impressive transfer, aided by the fact that most of the movie plays out in master shots—it's very home-video friendly. Colors are deep and rich, giving a stark sense of the Iranian landscape, and fleshtones are well reproduced.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Farsino


Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 track offers great contrasts between activity and silence, and just a small amount of ambient noise and hiss compromise the aesthetic choices at work on the sound mix. Also, I'm sure it helps in impressing me that I don't speak a word of Farsi.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Not One Less, The Road Home
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Nothing here but chapter stops and some trailers.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

A smart, serene, small-scale film, Secret Ballot succeeds admirably well at making its political points without being overbearing, and in presenting a candid, warm view of the citizens of one of the world's most vilified nations.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store